How do you remember where you parked your car? How do you know if you're moving in the right direction? Neuroscientist Neil Burgess studies the neural mechanisms that map the space around us, and how they link to memory and imagination. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDSalon London Spring 2011, TED, Talks, brain, cognitive science, exploration,...
Early diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder can improve the lives of everyone affected, but the complex network of causes make it incredibly difficult to predict. At TEDxPeachtree, Ami Klin describes a new early detection method that uses eye-tracking technologies to gauge babies' social engagement skills and reliably measure their risk of developing autism. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, TEDxFeatured, cognitive science, mental health, psychology, science, tedx,...
What does a disgusting image have to do with how you vote? Equipped with surveys and experiments, psychologist David Pizarro demonstrates a correlation between sensitivity to disgusting cues -- a photo of feces, an unpleasant odor -- and moral and political conservatism. (Filmed at TEDxEast.) Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, choice, cognitive science, morality, politics, psychology, science,...
Neuroscientist Vilayanur Ramachandran outlines the fascinating functions of mirror neurons. Only recently discovered, these neurons allow us to learn complex social behaviors, some of which formed the foundations of human civilization as we know it. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, biology, brain, cognitive science, evolution, neurology, science, TEDIndia...
Why do teenagers seem so much more impulsive, so much less self-aware than grown-ups? Cognitive neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore compares the prefrontal cortex in adolescents to that of adults, to show us how typically “teenage” behavior is caused by the growing and developing brain. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, cognitive science, neuroscience, science, youth, TEDGlobal 2012, 2012
In this factual talk, geneticist Wendy Chung shares what we know about autism spectrum disorder — for example, that autism has multiple, perhaps interlocking, causes. Looking beyond the worry and concern that can surround a diagnosis, Chung and her team look at what we’ve learned through studies, treatments and careful listening. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, cognitive science, genetics, health, neuroscience, science, TED2014, 2014
Treo creator Jeff Hawkins urges us to take a new look at the brain -- to see it not as a fast processor, but as a memory system that stores and plays back experiences to help us predict, intelligently, what will happen next. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2003, TED, Talks, AI, brain, cognitive science, computers, intelligence, memory,...
In this short talk, psychologist Dan Ariely tells two personal stories that explore scientific conflict of interest: How the pursuit of knowledge and insight can be affected, consciously or not, by shortsighted personal goals. When we're thinking about the big questions, he reminds us, let's be aware of our all-too-human brains. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2011, TED, Talks, cognitive science, economics, medical research, science, technology,...
Author George Dyson spins the story of Project Orion, a massive, nuclear-powered spacecraft that could have taken us to Saturn in five years. His insider’s perspective and a secret cache of documents bring an Atomic Age dream to life. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, NASA, future, history, physics, rocket science, science, space, storytelling,...
Philosopher-comedian Emily Levine talks (hilariously) about science, math, society and the way everything connects. She's a brilliant trickster, poking holes in our fixed ideas and bringing hidden truths to light. Settle in and let her ping your brain. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2002, TED, Talks, cognitive science, comedy, entertainment, humor, philosophy,...
As manager of the Rosetta mission, Fred Jansen was responsible for the successful 2014 landing of a probe on the comet known as 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. In this fascinating and funny talk, Jansen reveals some of the intricate calculations that went into landing the Philae probe on a comet 500 million kilometers from Earth — and shares some incredible photographs taken along the way. Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, rocket science, science, space, technology, TED2015, 2015
Juan Enriquez challenges our definition of bioenergy. Oil, coal, gas and other hydrocarbons are not chemical but biological products, based on plant matter -- and thus, growable. Our whole approach to fuel, he argues, needs to change. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, biodiversity, biotech, business, energy, science, technology, tedbooks,...
At TEDxNASA, planetary scientist Joel Levine shows some intriguing -- and puzzling -- new discoveries about Mars: craters full of ice, traces of ancient oceans, and compelling hints at the presence, sometime in the past, of life. He makes the case for going back to Mars to find out more. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, exploration, life, science, space, technology, TEDxNASA, 2009
At TEDxMaastricht, Daniel Kraft offers a fast-paced look at the next few years of innovations in medicine, powered by new tools, tests and apps that bring diagnostic information right to the patient's bedside. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDxMaastricht, TED, Talks, design, health care, science, technology, 2011
Tissue engineer and TED Fellow Nina Tandon is growing artificial hearts and bones. To do that, she needs new ways of caring for artificially grown cells -- techniques she's developed by the simple but powerful method of copying their natural environments. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2011, TED, Talks, biology, biomimicry, biotech, science, 2011
Eythor Bender of Berkeley Bionics brings onstage two amazing exoskeletons, HULC and eLEGS -- robotic add-ons that could one day allow a human to carry 200 pounds without tiring, or allow a wheelchair user to stand and walk. It's a powerful onstage demo, with implications for human potential of all kinds. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2011, TED, Talks, design, science, technology, 2011
Nature's mysteries meet tack-sharp wit in this hilarious, 10-minute mix of quips and fun lessons, as comedian, writer and TV man John Lloyd plucks at the substance of several things not seen. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, comedy, philosophy, science, TEDGlobal 2009, 2009
Surgeons are taught from textbooks which conveniently color-code the types of tissues, but that's not what it looks like in real life -- until now. At TEDMED Quyen Nguyen demonstrates how a molecular marker can make tumors light up in neon green, showing surgeons exactly where to cut. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDMED 2011, TED, Talks, cancer, medicine, science, technology, 2011
Mice, bugs and hamsters are no longer the only way to study the brain. Functional MRI (fMRI) allows scientists to map brain activity in living, breathing, decision-making human beings. Read Montague gives an overview of how this technology is helping us understand the complicated ways in which we interact with each other. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, neuroscience, science, TEDGlobal 2012, 2012
Ron Gutman reviews a raft of studies about smiling, and reveals some surprising results. Did you know your smile can be a predictor of how long you'll live -- and that a simple smile has a measurable effect on your overall well-being? Prepare to flex a few facial muscles as you learn more about this evolutionarily contagious behavior. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2011, TED, Talks, culture, happiness, science, society, 2011
Elaine Morgan is a tenacious proponent of the aquatic ape hypothesis: the idea that humans evolved from primate ancestors who dwelt in watery habitats. Hear her spirited defense of the idea -- and her theory on why mainstream science doesn't take it seriously. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2009, TED, Talks, apes, evolution, science, 2009
How do we search for alien life if it's nothing like the life that we know? At TEDxUIUC Christoph Adami shows how he uses his research into artificial life -- self-replicating computer programs -- to find a signature, a 'biomarker,' that is free of our preconceptions of what life is. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, biology, evolution, life, science, TEDxUIUC, 2011
Renowned paleontologist Jack Horner has spent his career trying to reconstruct a dinosaur. He's found fossils with extraordinarily well-preserved blood vessels and soft tissues, but never intact DNA. So, in a new approach, he's taking living descendants of the dinosaur (chickens) and genetically engineering them to reactivate ancestral traits — including teeth, tails, and even hands — to make a "Chickenosaurus". Topics: TEDTalks, TED2011, TED, Talks, genetics, paleontology, science, 2011
While studying for his Ph.D in physics, Uri Alon thought he was a failure because all his research paths led to dead ends. But, with the help of improv theater, he came to realize that there could be joy in getting lost. A call for scientists to stop thinking of research as a direct line from question to answer, but as something more creative. It's a message that will resonate, no matter what your field. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, creativity, science, theater, TEDGlobal 2013, 2013
When a new drug gets tested, the results of the trials should be published for the rest of the medical world -- except much of the time, negative or inconclusive findings go unreported, leaving doctors and researchers in the dark. In this impassioned talk, Ben Goldacre explains why these unreported instances of negative data are especially misleading and dangerous. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, cancer, medicine, science, TEDMED 2012, 2012
The biggest surprise of discovering the Higgs boson? That there were no surprises. Gian Giudice talks us through a problem in theoretical physics: what if the Higgs field exists in an ultra-dense state that could mean the collapse of all atomic matter? With wit and charm, Giudice outlines a grim fate -- and why we shouldn't start worrying just yet. (Filmed at TEDxCERN.) Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, physics, science, universe, TEDxCERN, 2013
In 1812, four men at Cambridge University met for breakfast. What began as an impassioned meal grew into a new scientific revolution, in which these men -- who called themselves “natural philosophers” until they later coined “scientist” -- introduced four major principles into scientific inquiry. Historian and philosopher Laura Snyder tells their intriguing story. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, history, science, storytelling, technology, TEDGlobal 2012, 2012
Should we keep the outdoors out of hospitals? Ecologist and TED Fellow Jessica Green has found that mechanical ventilation does get rid of many types of microbes, but the wrong kinds: the ones left in the hospital are much more likely to be pathogens. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2011, TED, Talks, health, microbiology, science, 2011
The ocean has degraded within our lifetimes, as shown in the decreasing average size of fish. And yet, as Daniel Pauly shows us onstage at Mission Blue, each time the baseline drops, we call it the new "normal." At what point do we stop readjusting downward? Topics: TEDTalks, Mission Blue Voyage, TED, Talks, data, oceans, science, 2010
Inspired by biological design and self-organizing systems, artist Heather Barnett co-creates with physarum polycephalum, a eukaryotic microorganism that lives in cool, moist areas. What can people learn from the semi-intelligent slime mold? Watch this talk to find out. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, art, biology, science, TEDSalon Berlin 2014, 2014
Before life existed on Earth, there was just matter, inorganic dead "stuff." How improbable is it that life arose? And -- could it use a different type of chemistry? Using an elegant definition of life (anything that can evolve), chemist Lee Cronin is exploring this question by attempting to create a fully inorganic cell using a "Lego kit" of inorganic molecules -- no carbon -- that can assemble, replicate and compete. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2011, TED, Talks, biology, life, nanoscale, science, 2011
We think of space as a silent place. But physicist Janna Levin says the universe has a soundtrack -- a sonic composition that records some of the most dramatic events in outer space. (Black holes, for instance, bang on spacetime like a drum.) An accessible and mind-expanding soundwalk through the universe. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2011, TED, Talks, science, universe, 2011
With never-before-seen video, primatologist Isabel Behncke Izquierdo (a TED Fellow) shows how bonobo ape society learns from constantly playing -- solo, with friends, even as a prelude to sex. Indeed, play appears to be the bonobos' key to problem-solving and avoiding conflict. If it works for our close cousins, why not for us? Topics: TEDTalks, TED2011, TED, Talks, TED Fellows, science, 2011
Taylor Wilson believes nuclear fusion is a solution to our future energy needs, and that kids can change the world. And he knows something about both of those: When he was 14, he built a working fusion reactor in his parents' garage. Now 17, he takes the TED stage at short notice to tell (the short version of) his story. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2012, TED, Talks, energy, science, technology, youth, 2012
What is killing the Tasmanian devil? A virulent cancer is infecting them by the thousands -- and unlike most cancers, it's contagious. Researcher Elizabeth Murchison tells us how she's fighting to save the Taz, and what she's learning about all cancers from this unusual strain. Contains disturbing images of facial cancer. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2011, TED, Talks, animals, biology, cancer, science, 2011
From deep in the TED archive, Danny Hillis outlines an intriguing theory of how and why technological change seems to be accelerating, by linking it to the very evolution of life itself. The presentation techniques he uses may look dated, but the ideas are as relevant as ever. Topics: TEDTalks, TED1994, TED, Talks, future, science, technology, 1994
They're the second largest fish in the world, they're almost extinct, and we know almost nothing about them. At TEDxDublin, Simon Berrow describes the fascinating basking shark ("Great Fish of the Sun" in Irish), and the exceptional -- and wonderfully low-tech -- ways he's learning enough to save them. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDxDublin, TED, Talks, biology, environment, oceans, science, 2010
Working with a team of physicists, Dr. Deborah Rhodes developed a new tool for tumor detection that's 3 times as effective as traditional mammograms for women with dense breast tissue. The life-saving implications are stunning. So why haven't we heard of it? Rhodes shares the story behind the tool's creation, and the web of politics and economics that keep it from mainstream use. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDWomen, TED, Talks, business, cancer, medicine, science, technology, 2010
We've been to the moon, we've mapped the continents, we've even been to the deepest point in the ocean -- twice. What's left for the next generation to explore? Biologist and explorer Nathan Wolfe suggests this answer: Almost everything. And we can start, he says, with the world of the unseeably small. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, biodiversity, exploration, microbiology, science, TED2012, 2012
Philosopher John Searle lays out the case for studying human consciousness -- and systematically shoots down some of the common objections to taking it seriously. As we learn more about the brain processes that cause awareness, accepting that consciousness is a biological phenomenon is an important first step. And no, he says, consciousness is not a massive computer simulation. (Filmed at TEDxCERN.) Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, consciousness, philosophy, science, TEDxCERN, 2013
Ecologist Deborah Gordon studies ants wherever she can find them -- in the desert, in the tropics, in her kitchen ... In this fascinating talk, she explains her obsession with insects most of us would happily swat away without a second thought. She argues that ant life provides a useful model for learning about many other topics, including disease, technology and the human brain. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, insects, nature, science, TED2014, 2014
Ecologist Eric Berlow doesn't feel overwhelmed when faced with complex systems. He knows that more information can lead to a better, simpler solution. Illustrating the tips and tricks for breaking down big issues, he distills an overwhelming infographic on U.S. strategy in Afghanistan to a few elementary points. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, complexity, design, science, TEDGlobal 2010, 2010
Legendary skeptic James Randi takes a fatal dose of homeopathic sleeping pills onstage, kicking off a searing 18-minute indictment of irrational beliefs. He throws out a challenge to the world's psychics: Prove what you do is real, and I'll give you a million dollars. (No takers yet.) Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, culture, health, magic, science, TED2007, 2007
Armed with a sense of humor and laypeople's terms, Nobel winner Murray Gell-Mann drops some knowledge on TEDsters about particle physics, asking questions like, Are elegant equations more likely to be right than inelegant ones? Topics: TEDTalks, TED2007, TED, Talks, physics, science, storytelling, technology, 2007
In a zippy demo at TED U, AnnMarie Thomas shows how two different kinds of homemade play dough can be used to demonstrate electrical properties -- by lighting up LEDs, spinning motors, and turning little kids into circuit designers. Topics: TEDTalks, TED2011, TED, Talks, education, science, technology, 2011
Why do we like an original painting better than a forgery? Psychologist Paul Bloom argues that human beings are essentialists -- that our beliefs about the history of an object change how we experience it, not simply as an illusion, but as a deep feature of what pleasure (and pain) is. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDGlobal 2011, TED, Talks, happiness, philosophy, psychology, science, 2011
What do rap shows, barbershop banter and Sunday services have in common? As Christopher Emdin says, they all hold the secret magic to enthrall and teach at the same time — and it’s a skill we often don't teach to educators. The science advocate (and cofounder of Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S. with the GZA of the Wu-Tang Clan) offers a vision to make the classroom come alive. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, education, music, science, TED@NYC, 2013
Wolves were once native to the US' Yellowstone National Park -- until hunting wiped them out. But when, in 1995, the wolves began to come back (thanks to an aggressive management program), something interesting happened: the rest of the park began to find a new, more healthful balance. In a bold thought experiment, George Monbiot imagines a wilder world in which humans work to restore the complex, lost natural food chains that once surrounded us. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, animals, biodiversity, deextinction, science, TEDGlobal 2013, 2013
The gastric brooding frog lays its eggs just like any other frog -- then swallows them whole to incubate. That is, it did until it went extinct 30 years ago. Paleontologist Michael Archer makes a case to bring back the gastric brooding frog and the thylacine, commonly known as the Tasmanian tiger. (Filmed at TEDxDeExtinction.) Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, animals, deextinction, science, TEDxDeExtinction, 2013
In this first-of-its-kind demo, Heather Knight introduces Data, a robotic stand-up comedian that does much more than rattle off one-liners -- it gathers audience feedback (using software co-developed with Scott Satkin and Varun Ramakrishna at CMU) and tunes its act as the crowd responds. Is this thing on? Topics: TEDTalks, TEDWomen, TED, Talks, comedy, entertainment, robots, science, technology, 2010